Friday, December 4, 2015

Chemo Update - Round 1

I seem to have survived round 1 reasonably well.  I'm getting two very strong medicines, and one of them, doxorubicin, is toxic enough that it should never touch your skin, but they can gleefully pump it through my bloodstream.  I saw my oncologist on Wednesday and she said "You look pretty good considering what we did to you last weekend."  Uh, um, thanks???

My first round of chemo started the day before Thanksgiving.  The treatments ended just before midnight on the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, although I stayed the night in the hospital.

I did have nausea and threw up a bit on Saturday morning.  But, Zofran and Compazine are fairly effective against the nausea, so far at least.  I've taken steps to have access to another very controversial anti-nausea medicine as well.  I had to skip coffee on Monday and Tuesday, and I've been eating less than normal, but doing OK for the most part.

I've been able to walk on the treadmill for an hour a few times this week.  That's the most rigorous exercise I'm allowed in the days right after chemo.  But, this weekend, I plan to ski both days.  I probably won't ski all day and I probably won't ski advanced terrain, but I hope to be out there.  I need to be out there for my mental health.

Starting on Monday, I can return to CrossFit until my next chemo, but I have to scale things a bit.  No one-rep-max lifts are allowed.  So, if things stay like this round, I'll have 5 days where I do little other than accumulate steps in the hallway at the hospital. I wear a Fitbit and I walk a lot as an alternative to laying in bed and then needing blood thinners to prevent blood clots.  Then, a couple days of rest.  Then, a few days of walking.  Then, a couple days of easy skiing.  Five days where I can do CrossFit.  Two days of harder skiing.  Then, 2-3 days of CrossFit (I think I'm going to start doing the really early class the morning I check in for my chemo), and it all starts over again.

I'm done with one round.  The plan is a second round, followed by scans and a surgical consultation at Sloan Kettering.  Then, 2 more rounds.  Then, surgery at Sloan Kettering in mid to late February.  And then, another surgical recovery, which I'm dreading.  But, I'll deal with that when we get there.

Then, maybe some radiation, or they might do the radiation during my surgery.  Then, I will wait for the next round of scans and hope this beast doesn't come back at all, and certainly not quickly.

There is still a slight chance for a cure.  But, I know it's very slight and I'm not focusing on that.  My best bet is to hope we eradicate the cells that are called "dedifferentiated".  If we can do that, recurrences should happen less frequently.  Well differentiated cells are easier to fight.  And that might buy me some quality time.  Five to 10 years is considered a good ride with my current diagnosis.

There are still other future options, such as the newly approved chemo drug called Yondelis.  But, I'm hoping that's a long way off.

For now, I want to ski, I want to work out, I want to enjoy the holidays, and I want to keep working a normal work schedule.  I want to spend time with my wife and kids.  I just have to deal with the fact that part of my body is trying to kill the host.  And hope we can stop that from happening for as long as possible, with as high a quality of life as possible.

Overall, I'm in a good place right now.  That might sound bizarre.  But, I'm happy today for no apparent reason.  I can't wait to get to the gym tonight and to the mountain to ski tomorrow.  There are still lots of lifts to make, ski turns to make, and trout to catch.


Harriet said...

Hey Damon, enjoy the skiing and thanks for the update.


WxBoy said...

I am glad you are chronicling your journey on this blog. Your experience will help your readers in the future if we or our loved ones face similar circumstances.

WxBoy said...

I am glad you are chronicling your journey on this blog. Your experience will help your readers in the future if we or our loved ones face similar circumstances.